As your parent ages, they often need extra help to maintain their normal quality of life. This is a normal part of family life and the aging process; however, the reality of the situation can often weigh heavily on the family members that end up providing the care. Everyone needs a break, and there are many programs and services ready to help you. Below are four strategies that will help you regain balance as you care for your aging parent.
Ask Family for Help
The stress of caring for an elderly parent can seem like too much for everyone involved. If one person tries to shoulder the burden for the entire family, the result can quickly be two family members (you and you parent) in a dire situation.
If you find that your duties are reaching a stressful peak, try talking to the rest of your family—both in and out of the house—for help. Assistance can take the form of cooking extra meals, taking care of errands, or simply spending time with your senior parent while you, the regular caregiver, takes a long nap.
Look for an Adult Day Program
Being locked up in the same house together for days on end can put both caregivers and care recipients in a bad mood. An easy solution is to look for an adult day program, which can help provide your parent with a much-needed social outlet, and you with a much-deserved break. Day programs typically operate during regular weekday business hours, allowing elders to receive care while their family attends work and school. Different programs will offer different levels of care, ranging from meals and socialization to health services and physical therapy.
Try a Senior Companion Program
An alternative way to reduce the stress of care giving is to sign up for a senior companion program. In these programs, volunteer companions provide friendship and assistance with basic errands and household tasks. The service is typically performed entirely on a volunteer basis, allowing both families and volunteers to find a balance that works with everyone’s schedule.
Seek out Respite Care
Caregivers need regular breaks, or they won’t be able to keep performing their important role. Respite care is a paid service that provides regular support and care for seniors in need. Care may take the form of visits directly to the client’s home, or consistent weekend outings that give everyone a break from the regular schedule. Respite caregivers are professionals who can provide a higher level of care than volunteers, and can ensure a level of routine and consistency that will bring families peace of mind.
When seeking help from other caregivers, it’s important to keep in mind the goal of a regular, sustainable way of life. Look for a solution that fits your family’s unique needs, and that will help you maintain balance in the long term. Aging is a regular part of life, and can be a joyous and valuable experience.